Shit. Did my parents actually instil me with a fear of developing square eyes?

Have I lost my ability to truly binge? What the hell is happening to me? I’ve been trying to put in the hours to power through Jessica Jones, but it’s becoming painfully obvious that I’m not gonna finish the last 4 episodes before bed tonight. 9 hours of television in two days isn’t anything to sneeze at, but try as I might to finish this show at the behest of the outside world, the outside world keeps intruding. More accurately, the pressures of the outside world have been internalised and now my inner monologue keeps pushing me towards some kind of peculiar sense of obligation. What the hell am I talking about? I’m trying to spend this weekend as a child and my brain keeps telling me to be an adult.

Remnants of Halloween snacks are still haunting the house, but for some reason I keep ensuring I’m eating actual meals. Past two days I’ve woken up at a reasonable time, taken vitamins/meds and had a proper breakfast before starting anything. Flossing and brushing occurring right on schedule without loading Netflix. I’ve been taking breaks, exercised and showered. Yesterday I saw a character eat a sumptuous looking sandwich on screen. My brain switched on, kicked me out of the house and into the supermarket. Before I knew what I was doing, my basket was loaded up with milk, carrots, cottage cheese and meats. Much as I wanted to get back to Marvel’s New York, I had to have a toasted pork sandwich stacked full of vegetables first. How is there still Halloween candy in the house?

Last night I was determined to really dig in and churn through some episodes, but once again that little beep in my brain sounded out. I recalled the resource Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay. I was fine, I told myself. Have you really had a conversation with another human today? Myself asked me. I remembered my friend was hosting a low key movie watching night. B-B-B-B-But, episodes. Being up to date, on top of things I thought. They’ll still be here when you get back my brain retorted. Stupid rationality and it’s dumb accuracy. So I went, interacted with other people and it was just what I needed.

Today, same thing. Determined to get right into it, I watched an episode before responsibility set in. Do you have fruit and vegetables for this week? You know you flip your shit without adequate bananas. Also your mouse battery is eating the dust and it’s pissing me off. If you’re not gonna do it for you, do it for me. Which is you. No More Zero Days. Goddammit I was right. So off into the chilled air I went. Fresh, non-recycled air with just a hint of light snow. Invigorated I came back and set my stuff down. In an almost robotic manner I pulled the defrosted salmon fillets out of the fridge and prepped a soy, ginger and maple marinade. I pre-heated the oven. Can I just go watch now? I thought about burned, dry salmon, a lack of vegetable sides. Resigned, I did some prep.

Eating my unnecessarily lavish lunch, I mused on what this whole thing meant. The idea of taking responsibility for myself, how incapable I felt of just letting things slide. As with any good therapy, I thought back to my parents. I thought of all the responsibilities and rules I railed against as a kid. Non-TV weeks, to ensure that I found other ways to engage my brain and activate my imagination in non-passive ways. How that rule relaxed as I aged and I could watch TV any day after I’d done my homework. I recalled the graduate system of lunch making, how my mum started me with the responsibility of putting my morning tea snacks and fruit into my lunch box. After I’d learned to make sandwiches, that was my morning duty too. Then, since I knew how to do sandwiches, snacks and fruit, my whole lunchbox was my responsibility. I remembered brushing teeth after breakfast and before bed. I drifted back to family dinners, frozen meals when my parents were off working late or on holiday. Being taught to cook over time, a dish or two here and there. How the packaged meals were less frequent once I knew my way around a kitchen.

I realised that so much of my conception of how to be an adult comes from learned example. It’s a design that took years to shape, but it’s internalised, a part of my world view. As I often do, I reflected on how lucky I was to be raised with boundaries forged out of love. I’m capable of taking care of myself because so much care was taken raising me. I was given so much when I was too young to appreciate it and it’s in surprising moments like these that I really do.

Maybe I should Skype them more than once a month.


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